Tea Ceremony in Sketches

A loose translation of the poem on the scroll in the alcove

My darling Ryoko studies Japanese tea ceremony with a group of others from Okayama and Kurashiki. Recently i was invited along to a special tea-drinking session at her sensei Ms. Matsuke’s house (she’s moving house so wanted to do one last one shindig at her home). 

We gather around, have some snacks and chat while setting up and then convene in a room to go through the process. As a new-un to the routine, i sketched a variety of quick scribbles to remind myself the process and find the moment of stillness (not always easy for this eager fella). Brief notes accompany the sketches. 

The general set up of the tea room with the alcove, scroll of poetry, brazier, tatami mats on floors – otherwise intentionally sparse.

The charcoal brazier is placed on a flat stone atop tatami mat. Some heated smouldering charcoal comes in a small pan to then add to the charcoal assembled therein.
The brazier is placed in a specific corner of the room with a pre-determined width from the wall. The charcoal is arranged in a specific manner sorta of what we’d call a tipi. Note three iron prongs to support the hot water pot which is placed atop.
The hot water pot is placed atop the brazier on the aforementioned iron supports. Today there was a cake as well. Sweetish snacks are an important part of the whole routine.
All the items are wiped, cleaned, polished, tended to etc with love and affection as shown in this “static montage”
Once the folks are seated, the routine begins with a specific sequence of using tools to add charcoal, fan the coals, scoop hot water, and so on. The tools and various holders and implements are very specifically placed.
Wagashi sweets are passed out (again specifically) to the attendees who then drink the tea and eat the snacks, wipe off chopsticks and admire the tea container.


Whatcha think?